the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2021-Jul-28 today archive


  1. Apple Closing Down Internal Slack Channels Where Employees Debate Remote Work
  2. 'World's Most Powerful Tidal Turbine' Starts To Export Power To the Grid
  3. Facebook Warns Growth To 'Decelerate Significantly', Mandates Vaccine For US Staff
  4. Dell Is Cancelling Alienware Gaming PC Shipments To Several US States
  5. Microsoft: Component Shortages Not Going Away Any Time Soon
  6. Google Delays Return To Office, Mandates Vaccines
  7. YouTube Channel 'Tech Support Scams' Taken Offline By Tech Support Scam
  8. What That Google Drive 'Security Update' Message Means
  9. Pfizer Data Suggest Third Dose of Covid-19 Vaccine 'Strongly' Boosts Protection Against Delta Variant
  10. Sony Has Sold 10 Million PS5 Consoles
  11. Israel Begins Investigation Into NSO Group Spyware Abuse
  12. Walmart To Sell Its E-commerce Technologies To Other Retailers
  13. White House Calls on America's Most Critical Companies To Improve Cyber Defenses
  14. Fast Internet Everywhere Could Add $160 Billion To US Economy
  15. Thousands of Scientists Warn Climate Tipping Points 'Imminent'
  16. US Senators Urge Barring Huawei, ZTE From $1.9 Trillion Govt Funding Measure
  17. France Issues Moratorium on Prion Research After Fatal Brain Disease Strikes Two Lab Workers
  18. States Say They Will Appeal the Dismissal of Their Facebook Antitrust Suit
  19. China Targets Mobile Pop-Ups in Latest Tech Crackdown
  20. Apple Tells Leaker To Snitch On Sources Or It Will Report Them To the Police
  21. WoW Will Remove 'Inappropriate References' Following California Lawsuit
  22. 'Programming Is Hard' Considered Harmful
  23. Astronaut Watches Russian Space Station Module Fall From Space In Fiery Demise

Alterslash picks up to the best 5 comments from each of the day’s Slashdot stories, and presents them on a single page for easy reading.

Apple Closing Down Internal Slack Channels Where Employees Debate Remote Work

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Cult of Mac: Apple is closing down internal Slack channels to stop employees discussing remote working options, reports Zoe Schiffer from The Verge. Many Cupertino employees are currently engaged in a Cold War of sorts with their employer over the remote working arrangement coming out of the coronavirus pandemic. As the arguments flare up among staff, Apple has taken the step of shuttering the Slack channels where these are taking place. "Apple recently began cracking down on Slack channels that aren't directly related to work," Schiffer wrote on Twitter. "The company bans channels 'for activities and hobbies' that aren't directly related to projects or part of official employee groups -- but this wasn't always enforced, employees say."

Two public letters from Apple employees have requested more flexible working conditions. A recent petition this month was shared on Apple's internal Slack channel, with more than 6,000 members discussing remote work. It noted that: "We continue to be concerned that this one-size-fits-all solution is causing many of our colleagues to question their future at Apple. With COVID-19 numbers rising again around the world, vaccines proving less effective against the delta variant, and the long-term effects of infection not well understood, it is too early to force those with concerns to come back to the office." According to Schiffer, "internally, [many] people feel like [Apple] isn't listening to their demands." She continues that: "Since Friday, three Apple employees have resigned specifically because of the remote work policies. One had been at the company for nearly 13 years. I've seen a bunch of these resignation notes and they're pretty heart wrenching."

Re: Life in Mordor

By antus • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Im suprised they didnt expect this. They do know about all the asshole stuff apple do on the manufacturing side, with taxation loop holes, to 3rd party repairers and to their own customers right?

Re:just say we are thinging about an union and the

By bradley13 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

dumping people through remote work

I think you have had some experiences. Remote work as a way to get rid of undesired employees? Why I can see that happening in some weird cases, it sounds like managers without the balls to just fire someone. If you have cause for firing, there's no need to jump through stupid hoops.

the best employees you buy them a house close to the office

What company buys houses for their employees?

in a high rise, they take the lift down from their apartment to the office

While I see your point, this assumes that the employee wants to live and work in a high rise, in the middle of a city. To give you a counterexample: we recently moved to a mountain town of 400 people. Living in the middle of a city? No thanks, been there, done that.

tl;dr: Times have changed. If COVID has brought one positive thing, it has made work-from-home mainstream. Some companies are desperately trying to stuff the genie back into the bottle, for reasons no one quite understands, but it's not going to work. The extroverts out there miss the social aspects of working in an office. Those of us who are introverts have never had it so good - the bloody extroverts can't keep interrupting us with office gossip. We're more productive than ever, and at the end of the day, we turn off the computer and go for a hike.

Re:just say we are thinging about an union and the

By FictionPimp • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

As someone who has worked remotely for the last 7 years 5 of which at fortune 500 companies. I see none of this as true.

Remote work has made my life better. I spend more time with my wife who also works remotely. We get to eat lunch together every day. I'm healthier because being home means I can do that morning workout without getting up 2 hours early so I can make sure I have time to shower and drive to work. I'm also healthier because we make more of our own meals now that we have free time from the 1-2 hours a day we used to spend on travel. I'm happier because I have less stress. I can take time on a conference call to sweep the floors or do little chores giving me back more of my free time to spend on things I enjoy and not the things I need to get done. Because I can work anywhere, I don't take as many days off or vacations. I can fly on a Sunday to a beach, work a few days right from the airbnb or hotel and spend the afternoons however I feel. I can take that trip to visit my parents without a burning vacation time. I can meet that friend for lunch across town and just work from the Starbucks that afternoon.

I have less stress about taking time off to meet contractors or repairmen because I can just let them in for my break. I have more money and nicer things. We no longer need to maintain two cars, I no longer need to buy dress slacks and shirts to "look professional", and because I can work anywhere, I work in a place where you can own a home and over an acre of land and still pay less than rent near work. I also have a better chance at building wealth. Because I found employers who still pay the 'city' price, I have more disposable income which I use to invest in my retirement. In the event I do not put it in my retirement, I'm putting it back into the market at small stores, buying things that make my life more enjoyable, rather than into a rent check and gas tank.

I am more productive for my employer. I write code better in silence instead of that bullpen they call 'open concept'. I don't have to wear noise-canceling headsets to get work done. I communicate more with my co-workers because I'm actually reachable. I have fewer pointless meetings and instead have more meaningful conversations in writing so decisions on my work come faster. I spend less time at watercoolers and more time discussing actual work. I work longer sometimes because I enjoy my work environment with my own private drinks, bathroom, cat, and amazing office furniture. I have more productive breaks throughout the day allowing me to actually relax which makes me more productive. I can take a 30-minute break in the afternoon to take a piano lesson remotely and then feel supercharged to work the rest of the day. Because my work is often performance-based rather than timeboxed (with the exception of meetings) I can schedule my time more freely and take a long lunch or start an hour early to get off earlier without the worry of someone taking notice and complaining, impacting my co-workers (omg you stink, why did you run 3 miles at lunch?). Finally, I've become better at communicating. A culture of writing has allowed me to spend time thinking about what is really behind that problem and writing it down allows me the distance to provide more clarity and develop more mature ideas. This communication has led to faster decisions from leadership and as such, more work output.

Working from home should be the norm for all roles. The exceptions should be when the role requires someone in person (stores, factories, etc). I would require much more money to go into the office again (roughly 35-40% more). I am living a life that I could have only dreamed about 10 years ago and I wish everyone else could too.

Re:Corporations don't care about commute released

By AmazingRuss • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Then go socialize. Don't force others into a room so you can make them smell your farts.

Ham-Fisted Measure Will Meet Streisand Effect

By luis_a_espinal • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"Apple recently began cracking down on Slack channels that aren't directly related to work,"

And that's pretty fucking dumb. All it did is push employees' concerns to other channels. So no Apple will fly blind. Whoever thought of this was an idiot.

The best approach would have been to let it happen where Apple could watch. Let employees blow steam and see if you can meet them in the middle, or offer a compromise where they could meet Apple in the middle.

With Delta and the new Colombian variant flying around, it is not unreasonable for workers in general, and knowledge workers in particular, to consider remote work options. Surely some will use it as an excuse, and a few others will simply slack around.

But those are exceptions, not the general rule. People in general try and want to do the right thing, for their families and employers (sans these anti-mask/anti-vaxx covidiots that are fucking it up for the rest of us.)

So why slam the door on your own workers. All this does is create dissatisfaction. This ensures that many will start considering getting out of dodge. If restaurant workers are giving a big "fuck you" to asshole customers and employers, you can bet that well-paid workers with much better options will do the same.

And don't be mistaken, the most valuable workers in any company typically are the ones with options. And some workers in Apple will exercise that option.

This is not how you treat your employers. Bad move.

'World's Most Powerful Tidal Turbine' Starts To Export Power To the Grid

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A tidal turbine weighing 680 metric tons and dubbed "the world's most powerful" has started grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, an archipelago located north of mainland Scotland. CNBC reports: In an announcement Wednesday, Scottish engineering firm Orbital Marine Power explained how its 2 megawatt O2 turbine had been anchored in a body of water called the Fall of Warness, with a subsea cable linking it to a local electricity network on land. It's expected that the turbine, which is 74 meters long, will "operate in the waters off Orkney for the next 15 years," the company said, and have "the capacity to meet the annual electricity demand of around 2,000 UK homes."

The turbine is also set to send power to a land-based electrolyzer that will generate so-called green hydrogen. In a statement, Orbital Marine Power's CEO, Andrew Scott, described Wednesday's news as "a major milestone for the O2." Funding for the O2's construction has come from public lenders via Abundance Investment. The Scottish government has also provided £3.4 million (around $4.72 million) of support through its Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund. Looking to the future, Orbital Marine Power said it was "setting its sights" on the commercialization of its tech via the deployment of multi-megawatt arrays.

Re:But does it scale?

By SoftwareArtist • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

It already has. I don't know how they claim it's the "world's most powerful" tidal turbine. The Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station has ten turbines, each one producing 25.4 MW. The article isn't very clear, but I think this is just a technology demonstration from a company trying to get into the business.

Re: I seem to remember an episode of Doctor who

By fazig • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
The initial concerns I can remember were about power plants that were connected to tide pools. Where it wasn't about turbines turning slowly or fast wounding animals but about the 'phase shift' such a power plant causes in the resulting tides in the pool.

Initially it might have sounded like a great idea, where a tidal pool fills up like a levy due to the tidal forces and then like with a damn you can have the water run through a turbine to generate power as the tidal pool empties.
However there the findings were tidal cycles were being affected by the power plants, which was supposed to have some severe impacts on the delicate balances in those biomes that have become reliant on those cycles.

Though of course this only appears to apply to tide pools. With free standing turbines, the impact should be far less pronounced.

Re: I seem to remember an episode of Doctor who

By Malc • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Tides are indeed intermittent and variable, but they are entirely predictable. Unlike wind. Tides aren't slack at the same time everywhere either. The UK gets a lot of power from wind (43% as I write this), but just 10 days ago when an area of high pressure sat over the UK for a week, the UK was importing more power from France than it was generating from wind. This isn't a factor with tidal. The UK benefits from large tides too, with places like the " Bristol Channel/Severn Estuary having one of the greatest tidal ranges in the world. So if tidal power will work, the UK is one of the most likely places to use it.

Re: £200 / MWh

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

That's what it is, a technology demonstration. However £200/MWh is not all that bad for certain parts of the UK because they require expensive infrastructure to get power there or diesel generation.

Hinkley C is currently at well over half that and rising. But again, that's just the price to shift the electrons, you also need to factor in the cost of getting it where it's needed. For some places a local generator at £200/MWh will be significantly cheaper.

Title is wrong

By stooo • Score: 3 • Thread

France has 10Mw tidal turbines in service since 1967.
Different technology, but still, their claim is wrong.

Facebook Warns Growth To 'Decelerate Significantly', Mandates Vaccine For US Staff

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Facebook said on Wednseday it expects revenue growth to "decelerate significantly." It also announced that it would require anyone working at its U.S. offices to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Google announced a similar policy earlier this morning. Reuters reports: The warning overshadowed the company's beat on Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue, bolstered by increased advertising spending as businesses build their digital presence to cater to consumers spending more time and money online. Facebook said it expects Apple's recent update to its iOS operating system to impact its ability to target ads and therefore ad revenue in the third quarter. The iPhone maker's privacy changes make it harder for apps to track users and restrict advertisers from accessing valuable data for targeting ads.

Monthly active users came in at 2.90 billion, up 7% from the same period last year but missing analyst expectations of 2.92 billion and marking the slowest growth rate in at least three years, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. "The user growth slowdown is notable and highlights the engagement challenges as the world opens up. But importantly, Facebook is the most exposed to Apple's privacy changes, and it looks like it is starting to have an impact to the outlook beginning in 3Q," said Ygal Arounian, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. Brian Wieser, GroupM's global president of business intelligence, said all social media companies would see slower growth in the second half of the year and that it would take more concrete warnings about activity in June and July for anyone to anticipate a "meaningful deceleration."

Re:Compulsory vaccination

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Not you fucking business. It is a sick as fuck for any company to think it can mandate compulsory any medical procedure

It's a good thing people like you weren't around in 1955. Today the medical system would be bogged down by millions of extra patients isolated for life in iron lungs.

Companies sometimes mandate medical procedures for employees who, if untreated, would raise costs for a company health plan as a whole - morbid obesity, say. Letting employees stay unvaccinated in a deadly pandemic would not only affect the company, but might be a nucleus for the next variant. To me that would be sick as fuck.

Re:Science Denier.

By quenda • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

But the Vaccines do not stop you being a virus carrier/spreader - This has always been the claim.

Are you always such a black & white thinker?
Reality is more nuanced, vaccine is never 100%, they reduce the risk of being a spreader. Is that too hard to understand?

While we have some data on the effectiveness of vaccines in reducing risk of infection and hospitalisation, we still really do not know how much full vaccination reduce the risk of spread from an infected person. Probably a lot, certainly not 100%.

Re:Compulsory vaccination

By ljw1004 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I call them moronic idiots taking financial risks they are not allowed to. Should a company mandate that an employee take the vaccine or be fired, then the company is liable for the outcomes. If they did, kiss 10 million goodbye minimum.

Come on, it's pointless for you to hand-wave when it's easy for you to estimate cost/benefits. Let me spell them out for you.

Vaccine is mandated for anyone who choses to return to the office, while those who chose to remain remote can remain unvaccinated. Chance of severe adverse reaction is about 1000 in 180 million. Most of Facebook's employees are in the highly educated affluent demographic who have 80%+ uptake of the vaccine. Given the risk for the remaining 20% of Facebook's 60k employees, the expected number of people which this mandate effects and who have severe adverse reaction is 0.07. Given that the vaccine is only necessary for returning to the office, and people can chose not to, I'd give about 50% chance of a lawsuit succeeding. Given your $10mil estimate, the expected loss is only $0.3 million, i.e. the about the cost to the business of about 0.3 developer-years. (The rule of thumb is it costs twice a developer's wages to employee them). In other words your concern is completely financially insignificant.

Since you're keen on costs, you should consider another bigger cost. The vaccine seems to knock many people out for a day. If 60k employees get the shot, and half of them lose a day of work, that's 30k days of work lost - about 125 developer years. This cost is two orders of magnitude larger than your cost.

What about the opposite scenario, where people are required to return to work but vaccination isn't mandatory? Here we have to look at the cost of hospitalization for people who get covid, both in terms of developer-talent lost and insurance. (Facebook will naturally bear the insurance cost of hospitalizations - the money has to come from somewhere of course). I don't know how to calculate the numbers here. Hospitalization rates are reported as about 5 per 100k people, so I guess we'd expect 2 Facebook employees to be hospitalized and cost $0.1m each in hospital fees, and I'm guessing a few thousand other people sick enough from the disease to need two weeks off work.

What does all this add up to? -- I don't know. My analysis is crude enough that I might be out by an order of magnitude or two. The only thing I've clearly demonstrated is that your talking point (of liability) is a bizarre red-herring.

Re:Compulsory vaccination

By ljw1004 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Not to mention it discriminates against people of color.

Only 36% of African Americans and 41% of Latinx Americans people are currently vaccinated. How is this helping them? Facebook and Google need to rethink their policies and start asking how does this help with diversity?

If you had statistics about the rate of vaccination of highly educated and affluent African Americans and Latinx Americans, then maybe your talking point might be relevant to Facebook and Google employees. As it is, you don't, and it's a pointless way for you to bait.

Re:The vaccines are GREAT!

By Opportunist • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

No! For fuck's sake, NO!

Don't get vaccinated! Go to events instead, if the infection numbers go down, I have to go back to the office!

Screw the world, screw your life, I don't want to give up my home office! I need you, people, to stay strong in the face of adversity and get infected.

Your sacrifice will not be in vain.

Dell Is Cancelling Alienware Gaming PC Shipments To Several US States

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
davide marney writes: Orders for Alienware Aurora R12 and R10 gaming PC configurations placed in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington will not be honored because of power consumption regulations, reports PC Gamer. "Any orders placed that are bound for those states will be canceled," Dell states in a message.

"The Aurora R12 and R10 are built around the latest generation processors from Intel and AMD, the former featuring 11th Gen Core Rocket Lake CPUs and the latter wielding Ryzen 5000 series chips based on Zen 3," reports PC Gamer. "Unfortunately for both Dell and buyers who reside in affected states, the majority of Aurora R12 and R10 configurations consume more power than local regulations allow. There are exceptions, though [depending on the configuration you select]."

A number of misleading facts about the regulations

By Sivinus • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I haven't gone through a lot of the regulations myself (and apparently some of the "official" websites aren't maintained that well), but it sounds like the restrictions might have to do with the amount of power consumed during sleep states and a higher limit is allowed for more "expandable" computers with more slots and larger power supplies, with a total exemption for computers over a certain expandability score or exceed a certain power supply wattage and discrete GPU or integrated GPU + RAM bandwidth. The expandability score seems to be calculated based on a lot of little details, such as the number of USB 2.0, 3.0, 3.1 ports, Ethernet, number of PCIe slots etc. From the snippets I was able to find I'm wondering if this is more geared towards offices with tons of low-powered PCs that just sit idle without actually sleeping, or something similar.

I think Dell has had a reputation of having potentially less-expandable components and weaker-than-average power supplies, and many of their pre-order combinations don't meet the requirements. I'm also not sure if their online portal would have the intelligence to recognize if customizing a PC (i.e. upgrading the power supply) would put it over the threshold. I imagine a number of these manufacturers might in the future might add just enough PSU efficiency/wattage or extra ports etc. to push them over the allowed limit.

Re:Just think of all the energy this dupe just was

By AndyKron • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Repetitive /. articles provide a backstop against all the porn bandwidth being used. It takes that much.

Re:build your own

By ChangeOnInstall • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I did build my own.

I also bought a Dell Alienware R10, as it was *BY FAR* the cheapest way for me to obtain the 6800XT graphics card I needed for the system I built.


By thegarbz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Actually quite a lot of Dell PSUs only look bad, and I say "look" because they are grey and use colour coded cables rather than being black with black cables. The overwhelming majority are 80+ gold at a minimum including the Alienware Aurora R10 which is one of the ones which isn't meeting the requirements.

There are other requirements, mainly around power consumption, sleep modes, and poor component choices. I'd be more interested in the fact that Dell insist on designing and manufacturing their own motherboards, and those are universally incredibly shit. What's the bet that they haven't implemented the most basic of powersaving features for sleep and standby modes...

Re:A number of misleading facts about the regulati

By thegarbz • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

From the snippets I was able to find I'm wondering if this is more geared towards offices with tons of low-powered PCs that just sit idle without actually sleeping, or something similar.

You are dead on the money. These regulations are focused on bulk vendors not shipping inefficient systems or default configurations which prevent proper sleeping. Something as simple as the display not being configured to turn off after 15min and a PC not being configured to sleep after 30min as a default out of the box setting will cause this to fail. The most onerous of the requirements is the requirement of 80+ gold PSU, but honestly anyone not producing this as a minimum should be ashamed of themselves. Dell's PSUs are actually okay but their component choices and system configuration ultimately is what lets them down.

Additionally worth noting is that if you're not a bulk vendor like Dell then the power consumption requirements don't apply. All you need to do to meet those if you're a small volume computer store is to ship an 80+ Gold PSU, and have the sleep settings configured correctly (which incidentally means, install Windows 10 and leave the settings on default).

This isn't rocket surgery, and while the requirements for power consumption in the legislation look incredibly complicated, an intern could whip that into a spreadsheet in a couple of days and that's the end of that.

Microsoft: Component Shortages Not Going Away Any Time Soon

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: In reporting its Q4 FY21 earnings, Microsoft disclosed that both its Surface and Windows revenues were affected negatively by supply-chain constraints. While remote work has continued to fuel PC demand, Microsoft and its OEM partners have had problems getting enough components, including chips, power cords and other electronic components that are required for new PCs. In Q4, Microsoft's Surface revenue fell 20 percent, to $1.38 billion in the quarter. The year-ago quarter comparison was tough because Surface and other Windows PCs saw lots of demand as people needed to buy PCs to enable them to work from home. Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood told analysts on the earnings call that Microsoft anticipated that Surface revenues would continue to fall next quarter due to supply-chain constraints.

Supply-chain pressures also will continue to impact Microsoft's Xbox gaming consoles and PCs made by its partners, company officials conceded. Hood told analysts to expect Windows OEM revenues in Q1 FY22 to decline mid to high single digits and Surface revenue to decline by low teens. The Q4 numbers released today had Windows OEM Pro revenues down two percent compared to the year-ago quarter and non-Pro (consumer) OEM growth off by four percent. Supply-chain constraints don't seem to be impacting how quickly Microsoft can continue to build out its cloud footprint, however. Hood and other officials expect Microsoft to continue to grow its commercial cloud businesses, including Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365. Azure was up 51 percent (from some undisclosed base number) for the quarter and Dynamics 365 was up 49 percent from some undisclosed base -- its third consecutive quarter of growth.

Think of the little guys

By labnet • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

We are in the SME manufacturing segment ($15M/annum)
It hell for the little guys when the big guys use their muscle to buy up everything in sight!
Chips we have have been buying for 15 years with no problem have now gone on 52 week allocation..
Try buying anything by Microchip Semi... nada it nuts out there.

Windows 11

By ChunderDownunder • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Which makes the spec bump for Windows 10 21H2, aka Windows 11 all the more puzzling.

None of my three Windows 10 capable x86 machines meet the requirements and I have no intention of buying brand new hardware at inflated prices in the next 30 months during a shortage.

of course...

By xlsior • Score: 3 • Thread
...Windows 11 will only make this worse, by artificially limiting the systems that it will deem worthy of running it, forcing people to upgrade their existing hardware

You have a 7th gen Core CPU that can run circles around many 10th gen ones? Sorry, buy a new one.

And of course, the worst part is that Intel has stated that the chip shortages will likely continue for the next couple of years. If Microsoft truly will end up yanking security updates for windows 10 in 2025, expect there to still be hundreds of million computers out there running Win10, just waiting to become part of a botnet.

This is getting stupid.

By aaarrrgggh • Score: 3 • Thread

I start to wonder if this is how our civilization will collapse. I delayed a few purchases back in March to not be part of the problem, and expecting most things to be resolved by September. That is starting to look like a big mistake.

I get it that some things are hard to make internally, and many others are uneconomical to make internally. At some point though the pendulum needs to swing back towards sane supply chains and putting production close to consumption. Unfortunately, this will tend to eliminate jobs as smaller scale manufacturing will need to be almost fully automated to be cost-effective.

Google Delays Return To Office, Mandates Vaccines

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google is postponing a return to the office for most workers until mid-October and rolling out a policy that will eventually require everyone to be vaccinated once its sprawling campuses are fully reopened. The Associated Press reports: The announcement Wednesday came as the more highly contagious delta variant is driving a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. In an email sent to Google's more than 130,000 employees worldwide, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is now aiming to have most of its workforce back to its offices beginning Oct. 18 instead of its previous target date of Sept. 1. The decision also affects tens of thousands of contractors who Google intends to continue to pay while access to its campuses remains limited. "This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it," Pichai wrote.

And Pichai disclosed that once offices are fully reopened, everyone working there will have to be vaccinated. The requirement will be first imposed at Google's Mountain View, California, headquarters and other U.S. offices, before being extended to the more than 40 other countries where the Google operates. Google's vaccine mandate will be adjusted to adhere to the laws and regulations of each location, Pichai wrote, and exceptions will be made for medical and other "protected" reasons. "Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead," Pichai explained.

Re:“Mandates vaccines”

By Beryllium Sphere(tm) • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

For vaccines, as opposed to things you take every day for years, the "long term" for safety is measured in weeks.

What does take time is long term effectiveness data. Normally a regulator would want to know how long a vaccine's protection lasts. Then there's a bunch of rituals about inspecting manufacturing facilities and asking for massive paperwork offerings.

No vaccine, no service

By quonset • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

As the Delta variant of covid takes hold in the U.S., some restaurants are now saying if you can't prove you're vaccinated, you don't get served.

Needless to say, some people are up in arms about this and some states have passed laws saying you can't require people to prove they're vaccinated before serving them. Here is the real test: bring your dog or cat (or goat or emu) into a restaurant or grocery store and watch how many people whine about bringing "unclean" animals into a place where food is prepared or where some people might be allergic to animal dander.

The hypocrisy will be delicious.

Re:Mandates vaccines

By nickovs • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
While I agree with your statement that the vaccine is great and people should take it, it's worth noting that BioNTech is a German company that took no funding or direction from from Trump, Pfizer didn't take any Operation Warp Speed funding, AstraZeneca is British-Swedish company who's vaccine developed by a British university without American funding and the techniques used by Moderna in their mRNA were invented by a Hungarian who had to leave the USA because she couldn't get a funded research position here (thankfully she joined BioNTech).

The Trump administration should be applauded for ensuring that the USA placed large orders for all of the viable vaccines, but there's no validity to the assertion that "the Trump administration got the job done in RECORD time". Several multinational groups of scientists, often working with direct competitors, got the job done in record time. Trump deserves no credit for their work.

Re: Mandates vaccines

By hey! • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Pandemrix is still authorized for use against H1N1. That's because the fatality rate for H1N1 infection is several times higher than the rate of narcolepsy reported. That's not to mention more common H1N1 sequelae like encephalitis, seizures and heart attacks.

Taking a medicine is always an exercise in comparing the relative risks of the medicine and the disease. The serious side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines are no joke, but they're rare; as long as the pandemic is producing 20 new cases/day/100,000 population -- or in some states as high as *80* -- your risk of Facing serious health consequences is far higher if you're not vaccinated.

At this point, 3.98 *billion* doses of COVID vaccines have been administered; hundreds of millions of people have been fully vaccinated with any of the vaccines approved for use here. If your'e worried about being a guinea pig, don't be. Yes, there is risk, but unless you're in a group that hasn't been able to receive the vaccine (e.g. 8-12 year-olds) the risks are pretty quantifiable.

Re:Mandates vaccines

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Pfizer for example was guaranteed a minimum of $2 billion in purchases provided the vaccine met with FDA approval.

That would be great if they actually had a vaccine. They didn't. They Bio-N-Tech developed the vaccine and actually received 375million in funding directly from the German government to do so.

You should be thanking Chancellor Angela Merkel for her "Bedienung Warp-Geschwindigkeit" (yeah operation warp speed doesn't make sense in Google translate :) ), and then be grateful Trump did the minimum which was expected from him. (Seriously guaranteeing minimum purchases during a pandemic, no fucking way!!!, but to be fair to his achievement this was uncharacteristically competent of him.)

YouTube Channel 'Tech Support Scams' Taken Offline By Tech Support Scam

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Tech Support Scams YouTube channel, operated by host and creator Jim Browning, was deleted after a tech support scam convinced Browning that the only way to secure his account was to delete it. The Register reports: "So to prove that anyone can be scammed," Browning announced via Twitter following the attack, "I was convinced to delete my YouTube channel because I was convinced I was talking [to YouTube] support. I never lost control of the channel, but the sneaky s**t managed to get me to delete the channel. Hope to recover soon." To fool Browning, the ruse must have been convincing: "I track down the people who scam others on the Internet," he writes on his Patreon page. "This is usually those 'tech support' call frauds using phone calls or pop-ups. I explain what I do by guiding others in how to recognize a scam and, more importantly, how to turn the tables on scammers by tracking them down."

Browning has made a name for himself with self-described "scam baiting" videos, in which he sets up honeypot systems and pretends to fall for scams in which supposed support staffers need remote access to fix a problem or remove a virus -- in reality scouring the hard drive for sensitive files or planting malware of their own. "I am hoping that YouTube Support can recover the situation by 29th July," Browning wrote in a Patreon update, "and I can get the channel back, but they've not promised anything as yet. I just hope it is recoverable."

Whether Browning is able to recover the account, and the 3.28 million subscribers he had gathered over his career as a scam-baiter, he's hoping to turn his misfortune into another lesson. "I will make a video on how all of this went down," he pledged, "but suffice to say, it was pretty convincing until the very end."

The scam should have been obvious

By timholman • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The first indication that he was being scammed should have been the fact that he actually spoke to a YouTube tech support person on the phone.

I mean .... I didn't think such a thing was even humanly possible.

Re:watch what you wish for

By Tablizer • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I like it when people play mind games with scammer/spammers. The best is when it seems like you are very close to saying "yes", then delay based on some silly concern. Gives them a taste of their own medicine.

You: "Oh wait, before I submit payment info, I have one last question. Are you JSTR certified?"

Scammer: "Uh, ...yes, we are certified. You have my word!"

(You hear typing in the background because scammer is googling it.)

You: "Great, can you give me your certification number? All members have a cert number."

Scmr: "Uh, 738923."

You: "That's funny, it says 'invalid number' when I check on their website."

Scmr: "Maybe it's the wrong site, can you give the URL you are using?"

You: ""

Scmr: "I'm getting a site not found error, are you sure it's right?"

You: "Oh wait, it's JSTR!.org, with an exclamation mark. Sorry about that."

Scmr: "Hmm, my browser doesn't like exclamation marks."

You: "It works in Firefox, do you have Firefox?"

Scmr: "No, I just have Chrome."

You: "I'll wait while you install Firefox. I have to take a shit anyhow..."

Re:Playing the odds.

By paiute • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

If it can happen to him it can happen to anyone.

If Jesus himself appeared with a halo and told me to delete files, I would ask for two factor authentication.

Re:watch what you wish for

By ArchieBunker • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

If they're Indian just ask if their mother knows that they steal for a living. That really sets them off.

Publicity stunt?

By Dan East • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Sounds like a publicity stunt to me. I'd never heard about his channel until now, so it's obviously working very well. Especially since he gave a specific date that the channel "may" be back. He'll just make it active or public again tomorrow and pick up many more followers (the channel actually sounds interesting to me, now that I've heard about it).

What That Google Drive 'Security Update' Message Means

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A security update will be applied to Drive," Google's weird new email reads. If you visit, you'll also see a message saying, "On September 13, 2021, a security update will be applied to some of your files." You can even see a list of the affected files, which have all gotten an unspecified "security update." So what is this all about? Google is changing the way content sharing works on Drive. Drive files have two sharing options: a single-person allow list (where you share a Google Doc with specific Google accounts) and a "get link" option (where anyone with the link can access the file). The "get link" option works the same way as unlisted YouTube videos -- it's not really private but, theoretically, not quite public, either, since the link needs to be publicized somewhere. The secret sharing links are really just security through obscurity, and it turns out the links are actually guessable.

Google knew about the problem of guessable secret links for a while and changed the way link generation works back in 2017 (presumably for Drive, too?). Of course, that doesn't affect links you've shared in the past, and soon Google is going to require your old links to change, which can break them. Google's new link scheme adds a "resourcekey" to the end of any shared Drive links, making them harder to guess. So a link that used to look like "" will now look like "" The resource key makes it harder to guess. If you head to in a browser, you should be able to see a list of your impacted files, and if you mouse over them you'll see a button on the right to remove or apply the security update. "Applied" means the resourcekey will be required after September 13, 2021, and will (mostly) break the old link, while "removed" means the resourcekey isn't required and any links out there should keep working.
YouTube is also making similar changes. "In 2017, we rolled out an update to the system that generates new YouTube Unlisted links, which included security enhancements that make the links for your Unlisted videos even harder for someone to discover if you haven't shared the link with them," says YouTube in a support page.

YouTube creators can decide to opt out of this change. They also have the option of making Unlisted pre-2017 videos public or re-uploading as a new Unlisted video at the expense of stats.


By fahrbot-bot • Score: 3 • Thread

What That Google Drive 'Security Update' Message Means

That Google Drive has *finally* moved from Alpha to Beta testing? :-)

[Note: The next stage in the Google development process is usually "discontinued".]

Pfizer Data Suggest Third Dose of Covid-19 Vaccine 'Strongly' Boosts Protection Against Delta Variant

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine can "strongly" boost protection against the Delta variant -- beyond the protection afforded by the standard two doses, suggests new data released by Pfizer on Wednesday. From a report: The data posted online suggest that antibody levels against the Delta variant in people ages 18 to 55 who receive a third dose of vaccine are greater than fivefold than following a second dose. Among people ages 65 to 85, the Pfizer data suggest that antibody levels against the Delta variant after receiving a third dose of vaccine are greater than 11-fold than following a second dose.

The data, which included 23 people, have not yet been peer-reviewed or published. During a company earnings call on Wednesday morning, Dr. Mikael Dolsten, who leads worldwide research, development and medical for Pfizer, called the new data on a third dose of vaccine "encouraging." "Receiving a third dose more than six months after vaccination, when protection may be beginning to wane, was estimated to potentially boost the neutralizing antibody titers in participants in this study to up to 100 times higher post-dose three compared to pre-dose three," Dolsten said in prepared remarks. "These preliminary data are very encouraging as Delta continues to spread." The data also show that antibody levels are much higher against the original coronavirus variant and the Beta variant, first identified in South Africa, after a third dose.

Re:Excuse me sample size matters.

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

too small of a sample size to determine ANYTHING

Not true. The sample size is usually not a limiting factor. If the effect is as strong as they claim, a sample size of 23 is enough to see a statistically significant result.

Flip a coin 23 times. The chance they will all be heads is one in 8 million.

Likewise, if 23 people saw increased antibodies compared to the control group, that is very unlikely to be by chance.

Sample size determination

Of course, whether the increased antibodies lead to fewer or less severe infections is still an open question, but that isn't what this study was designed to measure.

3rd is great

By colonslash • Score: 3 • Thread

... but the 18th will be wonderful.

Here's a Number: 23 people

By Roger W Moore • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Here in reality we trust science and numbers.

Agreed and it sounded most impressive until the point where it said "The data, which included 23 people". You cannot base decisions with massive health implications on a tiny data sample of 23 people. In fact, with a ~95% effectiveness in preventing symptomatic illness 23 people is not even enough to be confident that you have one of the 5% who can still get symptoms from Covid after vaccination which is probably the exact group of people you really want to study.

If and when to give a third dose is a complicated decision that needs serious data - and not just on anti-body counts but what the impact is on the rate of serious illness. Get the decision right and that's some more nails in the coffin of this pandemic, get it wrong and it's potentially just more nails in more coffins especially if we use our supply of shots up giving early third shots only to find protection wanes after e.g. 6 months. Given that we still have lots of completely unvaccinated people let's concentrate on getting them protected while using that time to collect more compelling data on if and when a booster would be most helpful.

Re: Enough

By Synonymous Cowered • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Thanks. That's a nice article, but it's still an article, and you know we don't like to read those around here, so lets sum it up:

1) Study enrolls 3,598 pregnant women who had just received the covid vaccine

2) 2-3 months later, 827 women had either a live birth, miscarriage, or still birth. The rest were either still pregnant or hadn't been followed up with. We'll ignore all of them and just focus on the 827

3) Miscarriages only happen in the 1st half of pregnancy. Since it was only a 2-3 months study, obviously those that had a live birth got their vaccine in the 3rd trimester, so we'll exclude those 700 from our analysis.

4) We have now selected the 127 people who had either a miscarriage or a still birth. We've purposely excluded those with live births, those still pregnant, and those who haven't been followed up on.

5) Of the 127, 104 had a miscarriage (and 23 had a still birth), so 104/127 = 81.9%

6) We conclude that 81.9% of women that were pregnant and got the vaccine had a miscarriage.

I'm frankly a bit shocked that they didn't just try to include the still births and just flat out claim that 100% of vaccinated pregnant women lost their baby. However, I think even the stupidest among them could figure out something was wrong if the number were 100%, so that was a little too obvious of a lie. Better to stick with 81.9%

Re: Enough

By Synonymous Cowered • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Try rereading my post and then look in the mirror. Your point 7 was exactly what I was pointing out. I mean, I explicitly mentioned that they were attempt to calculate miscarriage rates by looking ONLY at women who lost their baby. It's like saying 100% of people who are dead have died. That was the entire point. And you call ME a fucking idiot???

Sony Has Sold 10 Million PS5 Consoles

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The PlayStation 5 just crossed a significant milestone. Sony has revealed that it has sold 10 million PS5 consoles as of July 18th, eight months after the system's November 12th debut. From a report: The company considered that no mean feat between the pandemic and ongoing chip shortages that reportedly held sales back. It's now Sony's fastest-selling console to date, outpacing the PS4 by nearly a month. Sales have slowed down since launch. Sony racked up 4.5 million PS5 sales in 2020, but sold 3.3 million in the first quarter of 2021 -- it took another four months to add 2.2 million to the tally. That's not surprising between supply constraints and the usual mid-year slump, but you might not see sales climb until the holidays. PlayStation chief Jim Ryan told in an interview that it was "too early to tell" which markets were the hottest given widespread demand, but pointed out that China was a pleasant surprise. The company sold out its PS5 launch stock "very, very quickly" despite a local market focused on mobile games and the free-to-play model.

haven't seen one yet

By CambodiaSam • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

they will make it to PS6 before I can even buy a PS5

To who?

By _xeno_ • Score: 3 • Thread

I've never seen the PS5 actually be in stock. Whenever new stock comes in, it sells out in literal seconds.

Yet this stock isn't making it to gamers. It's unclear how many of them are being used to play games and how many are simply sitting in scalpers' garages, hoping that they can make a quick buck off selling them back at inflated prices. (And these inflated prices are starting to come down - used to be they'd easily go for double, now they're only going for 150% above MSRP.)

Sony doesn't care, though, because it gets them stories like this. They know that the reason for the continued demand is the continued lack of supply. There are essentially no games for it right now. I can think of a full two games that are PS5 exclusives that are not available anywhere else, and one of them is the controller demo that shows off the new controller features. There's no compelling reason to buy a PS5 right now, and Sony knows it.

Except that if you do get a chance to buy one, and don't immediately grab it, you may not be able to get a chance for who knows how long. That's the only thing that's boosting demand right now.

If Sony cared about getting consoles into the hands of gamers, they have an easy method of doing so: PSN accounts. Limit sales to PSN accounts that actually play PlayStation games and did so before the PS5 launch, and you'll cut off access to scalpers while letting people who intend to use the consoles access to them. (OK, there are caveats, but if you limit to one per account and shipping address, most scalpers aren't going to have a batch of PSN accounts to use to send to different shipping addresses.) But they're not doing that. Instead they're releasing random amounts at random times in random markets, pretty much guaranteeing that the scalper bots find them before any actual person interested in using the console does.

But it does get them impressive sales figures. And that's all they care about.

Sad to say, but scalpers have most of them.

By tlhIngan • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Sony knows how many people have activated their PS5. Barring a small number of people who will keep their PS5 permanently offline, the vast vast vast majority of PS5 owners who intend to play with the system will set it up, and will connect it to the Internet where Sony gets to note the unit coming online.

Scalpers obviously don't do this.

So Sony knows the fraction of PS5s sold that are in the hands of people playing with it. And if it was a significant number, you know they would announce it.

Like for example, they sold 10M PS5s, and they have noted that 9M of them are activated. If that was the case where most PS5s are in the hands of gamers and not of scalpers, then you know Sony would publish that fact because Sony knows scalping is a problem.

The fact they're not publishing this statistic shows it's probably a low percentage - maybe 50% or lower.

If we take sales of two PS5 exclusive games, like Ratchet and Clank, which sold 1.1M copies, or Returnal, selling around 500K copies, it shows. These are the few PS5 exclusives out now, and they're good games, and their numbers are pathetic for a console that sold 10M units.

Microsoft has the same problem - and their statistics are just as good (since it has to be activated online, they know every unit that comes online).

And it's got to be worrying Microsoft because their premier franchise, Halo, is going to have a major release this holiday season. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of tuning went into the PC and Xbox One versions as those sales would be carrying the franchise along. And Microsoft will report a combined PC + Xbox One + Xbox Series sales figure, because they know the sales figure for the Xbox Series will suck given how many units are in scalper's hands.

Both companies know the fraction of units that are going into the hands of people who intend to use the system versus scalpers. It's high enough to be worrying - because both are dealing with extremely low attach rates (scalpers don't buy games), and both don't want franchises to "flop" because even though they sold a ton of consoles, few made it into the hands of gamers, so few people will actually buy the title.

And both know if the fraction was big enough to matter, they'd be publishing it all over the place.

(Incidentally, stores allowing in-store reservation and pickup are seeing that the PS5s do not sell out instantly. Turns out when scalpers can't buy 100 of them in a single try and have to actually pick up the units in person, they don't actually go quite so quickly. I've seen PS5s hang around for a couple of hours - buying 10 of them at once is a lot harder when actual employees are going to be enforcing the "1 per customer" rule).

So if you want one, don't bother with companies that do online sales only. Go with the ones you can pick up in store.

Israel Begins Investigation Into NSO Group Spyware Abuse

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Israeli government officials visited the offices of the hacking company NSO Group on Wednesday to investigate allegations that the firm's spyware has been used to target activists, politicians, business executives, and journalists, the country's Ministry of Defense said in a statement today. From a report: An investigation published last week by 17 global media organizations, claims that phone numbers belonging to notable figures have been targeted by Pegasus, the notorious spyware that is NSO's best-selling product. The Israeli Ministry of Defense did not specify which government agencies were involved in the investigation, but Israeli media previously reported that the Foreign Ministry, Justice Ministry, Mossad, and Military Intelligence were also looking into the company following the publication of the Pegasus Project. NSO Group CEO Shalev Hulio confirmed to MIT Technology Review that the visit had taken place, but continued the company's denials that the list published by reporters was linked to Pegasus.

"That's true," he said. "I believe it's very good that they are checking, since we know the truth and we know that the list never existed and is not related to NSO." The reports focused largely on the successful hacking of 37 smartphones of business leaders, journalists, and human rights activists. But they also pointed to a leaked list of over 50,000 more phone numbers of interest in countries that are reportedly clients of NSO Group. The company has repeatedly denied the reporting. At this point, both the source of and meaning of the list remain unclear, but numerous phones on the list were hacked according to technical analysis by Amnesty International's Security Lab. When asked if the government's investigation process will continue, Hulio said he hopes it will be ongoing. "We want them to check everything and make sure that the allegations are wrong," he added.

Can you trust journalists on technical problems?

By shanen • Score: 3 • Thread

But "technical" is just the starting point of this story. This is actually a gigantic can of worms and the most serious are actually "human rights" problems.

For what little it's worth, I guess my short answer is "We have to because of the time factor." Some (probably most) problems are too pressing and fast-changing to wait for deep study and analysis. In that context, journalism is the best solution approach we have, but that makes journalism part of any solution.

Too bad I can't point at any examples of journalism in solution. I guess that means journalism has become part of the precipitate.

The result will be ...

By Alain Williams • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

a whitewash of NSO, not their fault that their software is "being abused". Sure they will find a few small points where "improvements can be made", but that will be about that. The executive summary has already been written, so business as usual.

We investigated ourselves...

By goldspider • Score: 3 • Thread

...and found no wrongdoing.

Mr Fox will surely deliver

By ugen • Score: 3 • Thread

Mr Fox will thoroughly investigate any possible transgressions committed by Mr Weasel in guarding the safety and freedom of the hens entrusted into his care.

Being a well known paragon of citizen privacy (look up how Israel handled monitoring of COVID contacts using their equivalent of the NSA), I have no doubt the result will be fair and balanced.

Ok, seriously, this is business as usual, the company was operating exactly as intended, and most certainly with full knowledge and close contact with the Israeli government.

An ethnic cleansing Regime is investigating...

By BardBollocks • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

.. one of the companies enabling their targeting of their assassination operations.

I'd hate to believe anyone is stupid enough to treat this investigation as having any credibility, but you know, people wanting to hold Israel to account for their crimes against humanity and ongoing ethnic cleansing are just being anti-Semitic.. RIGHT?

Walmart To Sell Its E-commerce Technologies To Other Retailers

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Walmart's investments in software and retail technologies it used to transform its business from a brick-and-mortar to one that combines both in-person and online shopping will now be made available to other retailers for the first time, the company announced today. From a report: Through a strategic partnership with Adobe, Walmart will integrate access to Walmart's Marketplace, as well as its various online and in-store fulfillment and pickup technologies, into the Adobe Commerce Platform. The technologies will be made available to both Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source customers, Adobe says.

The deal will allow Walmart to potentially reach thousands of small to mid-sized retailers, who will effectively be able to tap into the same tools that one of the largest global retailers is using to run their business. Through the partnership, Adobe retail customers will be able to do things like show store pickup eligibility and available pickup times online; offer multiple pickup options like curbside and in-store pickup; provide their store associates with mobile tools to pick for orders, validate item selections and handle substitutions; and use tools to communicate with customers about their pickup orders, like those where customers can alert store associates of their ETA or arrival for curbside pickup. Another aspect of the partnership will allow retailers to syndicate and sell their products across Walmart's Marketplace.

Is it just me?

By NaCh0 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Is it just me or is the walmart online shopping experience not very good?

I can't figure out if it's the plane jane design of the walmart website, or the sketchy 3rd party marketplace products, or something else about the experience that I can't quite put my finger on. But whatever it happens to be, shopping on Amazon feels trustworthy whereas shopping on the walmart website feels very low budget.

Re:Is it just me?

By DarkOx • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Yes Walmart's site really does give you that experiences of walking around cheap white commercial tile floor under poor florescent light; while you wonder "why does it smell so funny in here?" right from the comfort of your own home!

Really its designers deserve a Webby award or 10 when you consider the remarkably evocative sensory experience they deliver using such a limited medium. I hear if you have actual florescent lights and an old CRT with a crappy refresh rate set to 800x600 its even more visceral but it still hits most of the right notes on Retina MacBook even under natural light!

Big leap from "works for us" to "works for others"

By Tony Isaac • Score: 3 • Thread

I've seen this kind of thinking many times. A big company builds an in-house system that they think is really cool. Some executive thinks it's so good they should sell the software to others. After all, it works for us, it should work for others too!

What they don't realize is that developing software for others to use, is a very different endeavor from building software that works for in-house use. The standards are higher, the needs of users vary more widely, the technical competence of users tends to be lower.

If you're a good cook, you might think it's a small step to run a successful restaurant. It's not. The two endeavors are very different, for many of the same reasons.

If your a business, you should decide who you are, and focus on being good at that. If you're a store, focus on being the best store you can be. If you're a software company, focus on being the best software company you can be. Don't try to mix the two.

White House Calls on America's Most Critical Companies To Improve Cyber Defenses

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The White House is signaling to U.S. critical infrastructure companies, such as energy providers that they must improve their cyber defenses because additional potential regulation is on the horizon. From a report: U.S. President Joseph Biden signed a national security memorandum on Wednesday, launching a new public-private initiative that creates "performance controls" for cybersecurity at America's most critical companies, including water treatment and electrical power plants. The recommendations are voluntary in nature, but the administration hopes it will cause companies to improve their cybersecurity ahead of other policy efforts, said a senior administration official. The announcement comes after multiple high profile cyberattacks this year crippled American companies and government agencies, including a ransomware incident which disrupted gasoline supplies. "These are the thresholds that we expect responsible owners and operators to go," said the official. "The absence of mandated cybersecurity requirements for critical infrastructure is what in many ways has brought us to the level of vulnerability that we have today."

Jail the Execs

By dltaylor • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Until the executives of hacked companies face hard time, or at least, complete impoverishment, they will NEVER commit the resources for proper defense. This has always been the problem. What did it cost the execs at Xperian, for example, when the credit records of tens of millions were exposed? Nothing.

Re:Jail the Execs

By hey! • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

What is the precise nature and legal basis for this stick you are imagining? An American can't punish companies for not doing something he thinks they ought to. He needs to have some kind of statutory justification.

Fast Internet Everywhere Could Add $160 Billion To US Economy

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The U.S. economy stands to gain $160 billion a year in extra output from a successful national high-speed internet plan that would boost labor productivity and allow more people to work from home, according to new research. From a report: The study, which is based on survey data, attempts to put precise numbers on one of the bigger unknowns in President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan: how much is universal broadband really worth?

"Moving to high-quality, fully reliable home internet service for all Americans would raise earnings-weighted labor productivity by an estimated 1.1% in the coming years," economists Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom and Steven Davis wrote in a paper released July 27. "The implied output gains are $160 billion per year," equivalent to about 0.7% of gross domestic product. The study's authors describe an "abrupt, enormous" shift to remote work as a result of the pandemic, which they expect to settle with about 20% of the U.S. labor force persistently working from home. The share could be higher for so-called knowledge workers whose jobs are mostly done on computer networks anyway.

Fix Stupid, first.

By geekmux • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"a successful national high-speed internet plan that would boost labor productivity and allow more people to work from home..."

We have had plenty fast broadband internet going to plenty of homes, for decades now. And now we've had a global pandemic to validate remote work, can work.

And yet Greed still insists and demands that we falsely and corruptly sustain a Corporate Real Estate Complex and force (otherwise remote) workers to commute to a building.

We've been fighting this since before RDP was invented.

Fix Stupid who works in management, first. Then you can convince me that "broadband everywhere", will actually enable what you're selling. Otherwise, you're full of shit, and we will watch broadband providers yet again insist they need billions to roll this out, only to pocket 90% of it and do fucking nothing.

FUCK it gets old calling out the obvious.

10th admendment issue. - Not the Fed's problem.

By dhickman • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
If a state wants their rural areas to compete in the 21st century, then they can work with private enterprise to bring things out.

I moved to rural Arkansas after spending 25 years living in major US cities in order to get decent internet.

Nearest town of 100 people to me is about 5 miles of dirt roads, and the nearest walmart town is 10 miles of dirt and five miles of pavement away.

Why? Because several years ago Arkansas decided to funnel the USF ( universal service fund) and other grants away from telcos and opened it up to companies who can demonstrate that they can deliver a min of 1gig fiber to the rural areas.

The Co-op electric companies jumped on this and created ISPs. Right now they are ahead of schedule and something like 99% of rural arkansas that is served by Co-OPs will have 1 gig fiber avalible by 2025.

The hilarious thing is that the cities can not keep up and now have sub par internet than to the homes/farms in the rural areas.

Hell No

By Jodka • Score: 3 • Thread

So who detected that grotesque non sequitur in the summary? Broadband expansion stimulates economic growth, therefore we should have more government bureaucracy to grow the internet.

Here is a deal: After the U.S. government fixes all its existing massive screwups it has created then it is allowed to roll out a national high-speed internet plan. How about first, stop destroying natural habitat with mandated ethanol fuel blending. Stop artificially inflating consumer dairy prices by stockpiling 1.4 billion pounds of processed cheese. Stop destroying the retirement savings of the middle class with the Social Security Ponzi scheme. Stop destroying the labor market by paying people not to work. Stop bankrupting future generations with federal overspending; the nominal federal debt is about $29 trillion, the real federal debt, including off-the-books unfunded mandates, is about $134 trillion.

The United States is particularly terrible at government infrastructure projects. The California high speed rail project is an unending spending catastrophe. For the currently projected price of that system, The Boring Company could dig three tunnels across the entire country, with change to spare. New York city subway expansions are about 10x what they are in Europe, purely for reasons of mismanagement and legalized political graft.

Keep in mind that, to date, the role of politicians in governing internet expansion has been to accept payments from the dominant ISPs to restrict competition using regulations to "protect the consumer".

What kind of idiot expects an institution of such massive proven ineptitude and corruption as the U.S. federal government to successfully roll out an internet plan?

This message sponsored by...

By argStyopa • Score: 3 • Thread

...Onlyfans, Brazzers, YouPorn, and, let's be honest, Google.

Re:Amazing, Elon is doing that right now

By Darinbob • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The problem is that they overcharge tremendously for this, while refusing to roll out the necessary infrastructure. The entire US system for high speed internet at home depends upon cable - but if you don't have cable or don't want to pay their ridiculous prices then you're screwed and are stuck with copper for DSL most of the time.

The price needs to be in the $25-$50/month range for something greater than 25Mbps. Instead many people pay $40/mo for ADSL! Stop charging for internet as if it's a luxury product.

Thousands of Scientists Warn Climate Tipping Points 'Imminent'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Thousands of scientists have repeated calls for urgent action to tackle the climate emergency, warning that several tipping points are now imminent. From a report: The researchers, part of a group of more than 14,000 scientists who have signed on to an initiative declaring a worldwide climate emergency, said in an article published in the journal BioScience on Wednesday that governments had consistently failed to address "the overexploitation of the Earth," which they described as the root cause of the crisis. Since a similar assessment in 2019, they noted an "unprecedented surge" in climate-related disasters, including flooding in South America and Southeast Asia, record-shattering heatwaves and wildfires in Australia and the US, and devastating cyclones in Africa and South Asia.

For the study, scientists relied on "vital signs" to measure the health of the planet, including deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, glacier thickness and sea-ice extent and deforestation. Out of 31 signs, they found that 18 hit record highs or lows. For example, despite a dip in pollution linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, levels of atmospheric CO2 and methane hit all-time highs in 2021. Greenland and Antarctica recently showed all-time low levels of ice mass and glaciers are melting 31-percent faster than they did just 15 years ago, the authors said. Ocean heat and global sea levels set new records since 2019, and the annual loss rate of the Brazilian Amazon reached a 12-year high in 2020. Echoing previous research, the researchers said forest degradation linked to fire, drought and logging was causing parts of the Brazilian Amazon to now act as a source of carbon, rather than absorb the gas from the atmosphere.

Re:Syria is a climate problem?

By TomGreenhaw • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
It is a political problem whose root cause is an environmental problem. Political change does not solve wells going dry.

You're subconsciously shifting blame

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
"People don't care". This shifts blame back to the individual, even though from your post ("what is driving climate change is the output of large corporations") I can tell you know it's not something that individuals can solve.

This isn't an accident. Look up John Oliver's video on Recycling and the Plastic industry.

The best thing you can do is vote in your primary election. And (I'll take a hit for this) vote for the Democrat (assuming your American). I think it's safe to say that the GOP won't do anything for climate change, while the Dems at least have a small wing pushing for things like the Green New Deal.

There _are_ good candidates but they don't make it out of the primary. Your vote in the primary has a lot of weight though, because so few bother voting in it. And tell your friends and family to vote in their primary.

Our Winner take All voting means we're a 2 party system and will be so long as that's how elections work. But you can still tip the scales in the primary election.

And don't discount the effect of telling your friends and family this too. Online or otherwise.

Re:Which scientists?

By thegarbz • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

What will we have in 20 years that we don't have today?

High sea levels, failing crops, a positive feedback loop of fucking up the atmosphere? I'll go with that.

For all your grandstanding we've done precisely fuck all to avert the disaster and are perfectly on track up until 2020 for the estimated emissions of the "Stated Policies Scenario" which climate scientists pretty much unanimously agree is not sufficient to avert disaster.

Why did I say up until 2020? Because the global pandemic caused emissions to drop last year enough to put us on the track of meeting the "450 Scenario". All it took was a global pandemic, fucking up the economy, and locking down populations to prevent them from burning oil. Yeah let's repeat that fuck-off of a year for the next 20 years and combined with your indifferent view we may have a hope in hell of coming out on top.

Less Breitbart and more

Re:Which scientists?

By allcoolnameswheretak • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

None of which would count as "scientists" qualified to speak on the subject with authority.

People like civil engineers and economists are also interested in climate change because the effects of it are all-encompassing. The climate extremes and natural disasters are of course impacting cities and economies, so maybe these people do know more about climate change than you think.

Does it even matter if the climate scientists are saying the same things?

Re:Agreed on the solution (Re:Which scientists?)

By MrL0G1C • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Why should we listen to Algore on global warming? What of Bill Nye? He was an engineer for Boeing, not a climate scientist. This cuts both ways.

So how about you listen to what the actual climatologists say.

Consensus is not science

No, but science is science and greenhouse gases keep more heat in, it's thoroughly proven by science. Damn fool.

US Senators Urge Barring Huawei, ZTE From $1.9 Trillion Govt Funding Measure

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Two U.S. senators on Wednesday said they are introducing a measure to prohibit funds in a $1.9 trillion government funding measure from being used to purchase Chinese telecommunications equipment from Huawei and ZTE and others deemed U.S. security threats. From a report: Senators Tom Cotton, a Republican, and Mark Warner, a Democrat, said the funds that were approved in March in a law known as the American Rescue Plan should not be used to potentially undermine U.S. telecommunications networks.


By Ostracus • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Senators Tom Cotton, a Republican, and Mark Warner, a Democrat, said the funds that were approved in March in a law known as the American Rescue Plan should not be used to potentially undermine U.S. telecommunications networks.

Yeah, let us do that using american companies and equipment.

Protecting that NSA advantage

By Bugler412 • Score: 3 • Thread
So I should spend incrementally more on a device from a US manufacturer to support the NSA's current spying advantage?

It's common sense

By Nocturrne • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

You don't allow the enemy to plant compromised equipment on your own internal network. Clearly, China hates the West and all concepts of freedom and democracy - they are spending billions every year just to destabilize the US and EU.

France Issues Moratorium on Prion Research After Fatal Brain Disease Strikes Two Lab Workers

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Five public research institutions in France have imposed a 3-month moratorium on the study of prions -- a class of misfolding, infectious proteins that cause fatal brain diseases -- after a retired lab worker who handled prions in the past was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), the most common prion disease in humans. From a report: An investigation is underway to find out whether the patient, who worked at a lab run by the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE), contracted the disease on the job. If so, it would be the second such case in France in the past few years. In June 2019, an INRAE lab worker named Emilie Jaumain died at age 33, 10 years after pricking her thumb during an experiment with prion-infected mice. Her family is now suing INRAE for manslaughter and endangering life; her illness had already led to tightened safety measures at French prion labs.

This AND Monkey Pox?

By Cy Guy • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
A prion disease that can be contracted by a simple pin-prick might explain the brain disease now being found in New Brunswick, Canada.

(also - this is terrifying!)

Re:Infectious proteins...

By hey! • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It's theoretically possible to target prions with vaccines that generate antibodies to protein sequences displayed on the prion but not the normal form of the protein. This doesn't mean it would always be possible in practice.

Do they do gain of funtion research

By Pinky's Brain • Score: 3 • Thread

Do they do gain of function research on prions?

On the hand it would be criminally insane, on the other these are infectious disease scientists so not entirely unlikely.

Re:This is probably how humanity ends

By tragedy • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

It's also kind of critically important not to bite the zombies.

States Say They Will Appeal the Dismissal of Their Facebook Antitrust Suit

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More than 40 state attorneys general on Wednesday said they planned to appeal the dismissal of their antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, setting up a protracted legal fight to rein in the power of the Silicon Valley giant. From a report: The states would be pushing back on a decision made last month by a federal judge who eviscerated their arguments that Facebook had obtained a monopoly through its acquisitions of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014 and had harmed competition. The judge said that the regulators' attempts to break up the social media company came too many years after the mergers were approved. "The court is aware of no case, and plaintiffs provide none, where such a long delay in seeking such a consequential remedy has been countenanced in a case brought by a plaintiff other than the federal government," the judge, James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, said.

The state attorneys general have 90 days from the date of the notice to file their appeal, including their arguments. Mr. Boasberg also dismissed a similar complaint brought by the Federal Trade Commission, criticizing the agency's claims of monopolization, but he directed the agency to rewrite its lawsuit. The F.T.C. is expected to resubmit its lawsuit to the court by Aug. 19. The states' notice of plan to appeal did not include new antitrust arguments and was filed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

So what's the argument here?

By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If you manage to put yourself in a monopolistic position and nobody reacts for long enough, you're in the clear? What kind of justice is that?

I wish it worked like that for us peons: when I don't pay my taxes or commit a crime, they'll come after me many years after the fact. What makes Facebook so special eh?

Trump derangement syndrome

By Pinky's Brain • Score: 3 • Thread

These cases were brought because liberals blame Facebook for Trump getting elected, the rest are just flimsy excuses.

Re:So what's the argument here?

By JBMcB • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

If you manage to put yourself in a monopolistic position and nobody reacts for long enough, you're in the clear? What kind of justice is that?

You're in the clear if the government says the WhatsApp and Instagram acquisitions were OK. The government can't say "We've done are due diligence and this merger is perfectly fine." then change their mind 8 years later.

Non-paywalled article

By Tablizer • Score: 3, Informative • Thread


By Tablizer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Our laws need to make a distinction between three types of hosting:

* Publisher: you create and/or decide what to publish
* Curating Hoster: You filter or rank others' hosted content using staff, other users, and/or bots.
* Simple Hoster: You host others' content without any curating (except extreme cases).

Fakebook is a curating hoster. Then again, so Slashdot.

Curators should be subject to more regulation than simple hosters. As soon as you start curating, you should be liable in ways similar to a "publisher" because curating affects what readers see even if the hoster didn't directly create the content themselves.

A fourth category may be "curating linker", which Google and Bing are. If they rank problem content high, perhaps they should be under the same scrutiny as a curating hoster.

China Targets Mobile Pop-Ups in Latest Tech Crackdown

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China ordered Tencent Holdings and 13 other developers to rectify problems related to pop-ups within their apps, adding to a wide-ranging crackdown on the country's tech sector. From a report: The companies must address the "harassing" pop-up windows, which could contain misleading information or divert users away from the apps, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement on Wednesday. The 14 services, including an e-books app by Tencent's QQ and a video platform by, will have to fix the problems by Aug. 3. "Failure to abide by regulations" will not be tolerated and will be "penalized" accordingly, said the ministry.

Pop-ups, often used for advertising, are just the latest targets in a series of government crackdowns that have ranged from antitrust to data security, as Beijing seeks to rein in the tech giants' influence over most of everyday life. The crackdown has stepped into high gear in recent days after regulators announced their toughest-ever curbs on the online education sector and issued edicts governing food delivery, fueling a rout in Chinese tech stocks. The statement by MIIT comes days after the regulator announced a six-month crackdown on illegal online activities. The ministry on Monday said it will take steps to root out violations involving pop-ups, data collection and storage as well as the blocking of external links. Other regulators including the Cyberspace Administration of China have also pledged to tighten restrictions on misleading and explicit content used for marketing purposes. The watchdog said such material will be subject to harsher oversight, issuing fines against companies like Tencent, Kuaishou Technology and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. for offensive content.

Wait, what?

By DontBeAMoran • Score: 3 • Thread

The ministry on Monday said it will take steps to root out violations involving pop-ups, data collection and storage as well as the blocking of external links.

They're going to take down the great firewall of China?

Apple Tells Leaker To Snitch On Sources Or It Will Report Them To the Police

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple is escalating its war against leakers, sending out cease and desist letters, according to a copy of a letter obtained by Motherboard. An anonymous reader writes: The letter was sent by Fangda Partners, Apple's law firm in China, on June 18, 2021. In the letter, Apple asked the seller to stop acquiring, advertising, and selling leaked Apple devices, and requested a list of anyone who provided them with the leaked devices. In other words, Apple wants the reseller to say who gave them the devices. Finally, the company requested the seller to sign a document promising to comply with the request within 14 days of receiving the letter. "You have disclosed without authorization a large amount of information related to Apple's unreleased and rumored products, which has constituted a deliberate infringement of Apple's trade secrets," the letter read.

/. editors: You had ONE job

By UnknownSoldier • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

pple is escalating its war against

If only /. had editors ... /s

Re:/. editors: You had ONE job

By billybob2001 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

sending out cease and desist letters

Mainly the letter "A" so far.

How do you "leak" a physical object?

By hey! • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Yes, *information* about the object is leaked as a side effect, but isn't the device itself *stolen*?

Re:Apple has NDA with leaker, not with seller

By Ed Tice • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
In this case, the "seller" is a person who acquired stolen goods and is reselling them. The resale of stolen goods is illegal just about anywhere. I have no idea why anybody would think that they engage in this behavior openly and not end up in jail. Apple isn't so concerned with the value of the stolen devices (although in most jurisdictions they have high enough retail value to make the crime somewhat serious). They are concerned about the side-effects of the stolen devices being on the market and the information leakage. None of that is the reseller's problem which is why they don't address it in the demand. The reseller has the problem that they are selling stolen goods. Apple is more interested in the supply chain of the stolen goods than prosecution of the final seller. Therefore, they are trying to negotiate information in lieu of prosecution which can be done to different degrees in different jurisdictions. I am not Chinese. I'm not a lawyer. And I'm certainly not a lawyer who practices in China. I'm also not your lawyer or the seller's lawyer or anybody else's lawyer. I'm just describing the situation in general terms and not giving advice.

Might wanna RTFA

By sjames • Score: 3 • Thread

People might actually wanna RTFA here. They sent the threaatening letters IN CHINA. U.S. IP law is not relevant to the discussion. They sent the letter to a probably pseudonym. Even if police in China care to do something about it, it's unclear that they can.

If anyone here knows anything about relevant laws IN CHINA, that would be much more helpful. I do not.

WoW Will Remove 'Inappropriate References' Following California Lawsuit

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: The official World of Warcraft Twitter account has announced that it will take immediate action to "remove references that are not appropriate for [its] world." While it didn't elaborate on what those references are, they may pertain to in-game elements connected to its senior creative director Alex Afrasiabi, as Kotaku has noted. Afrasiabi was singled out in the lawsuit filed by California authorities accusing Activision Blizzard of fostering a "frat boy" culture that's become a "breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women."

According to the lawsuit, Afrasiabi is known for hitting on and touching female employees inappropriately in plain view of other male employees who would try to intervene and stop him. He apparently has such a notorious reputation within the company that his suite was nicknamed the "Crosby Suite after alleged rapist Bill Crosby."(The lawsuit has misspelled Bill Cosby's name.) In addition, executives allegedly knew about his behavior but "took no effective remedial measures." Blizzard President J. Allen Brack talked to him a few times, the lawsuit reads, but gave Afiasiabi a slap on the wrist for the incidents.
In response to the lawsuit and the company's "abhorrent and insulting" response to the accusations, some 800+ Activision Blizzard employees are staging a walkout on Wednesday, July 28th.

You can read the full message from the Warcraft team here.

Re: What to do if you don't like Blizzard:

By ArchieBunker • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

For example, the HR director at my former employer asked all employees to create a poster to celebrate International Women's Day. .

Unless you're in grade school, that never happened. I bet everyone stood up and clapped at the end of your fable as well.

Re:Weinstein, Afrasiabi & Co. need intense the

By prisoner-of-enigma • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Listening to the accounts of Weinsteins rape victims has me astonished at how blind most people including feminists are when debating these issues. Weinstein is ugly as f*ck, had a perfect 10 wife (probably more for show than anything else) and behaved like an out-of-control immature teenager when clawing for the ladies in his inner circle. Any regular functioning big hulky ugly and obscenely rich and powerful man like him would've gotten themselves a pr0nstar (or two or three) as girlfriend, wife and mistress, had all the sex he could've ever wanted in his life, cancelled anyone in Hollywood who made a stupid remark about it out of their career (he had that power) and called it a day.

I think you misunderstand the psychology behind creatures like Weinstein. It is not about sex. Most rapists don't rape because they want sex. It is about power, control, dominance, and ego...all traits Weinstein relished in and was allowed by Hollywood culture to exercise in the open. Everyone knew what he was doing, but they pretended not to know because Weinstein wielded immense power in the Hollywood machine. Cross him and your acting career could immediately be ended, sort of a bizarre "cancel culture" effect but in the hands of one man.

Re: whats racist?

By fibonacci8 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Too old for Matt Gaetz then.

Re:A walk out... how cute...

By Dale512 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
People shouldn't have to quit/leave their job to not be harassed, bullied, or endure illegal stuff. If you don't like the dress code at a job, sure, quit. Don't want a manager sticking his hand up your skirt should be a minimum bar of expectations, not something if you don't like you should have to leave over.

Re:whats racist?

By Myrv • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

My guess is they're likely just planning to remove any references to Afrasiabi from the game. From wowpedia:

There are many references to Afrasiabi, and his characters Furor Planedefiler and Kariel in Warcraft, usually referencing "Foror". "Tigule" is a reference to Jeffrey Kaplan, whose alias is Tigole. Afrasiabi and Kaplan were both members of high-end EverQuest guilds, explaining the many references to "Tigule and Foror".

Pathstalker Kariel, Skeletal Remains of Kariel Winthalus ( [Libram of Rapidity]), [Alex's Ring of Audacity], [Peep's Whistle], Foror's Compendium of Dragon Slaying, Foror's Eyepatch, [Foror's Crate of Endless Resist Gear Storage], [Foror's Wipe Neutralizer], Tigule and Foror's Strawberry Ice Cream, Autographed Picture of Foror & Tigule, Fras Siabi's Advertisement, Alliance Field Marshal Afrasiabi, Mob Fras Siabi (The Great Fras Siabi, Siabi's Premium Tobacco), Neutral Lord Afrasastrasz, Fras Siabi's Postbox Key, Fras Siabi's Smoked Cologne, Fras Siabi's Cigar Cutter, Fras Siabi's Barely Bigger Beer, Brain Freeze

'Programming Is Hard' Considered Harmful

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
theodp writes: The commonly held belief that programming is inherently hard lacks sufficient evidence," begins CS Prof Brett Becker in [an article published in the journal Communications of the ACM]. "Stating this belief can send influential messages that can have serious unintended consequences including inequitable practices. [...] Language is a powerful tool. Stating that programming is hard should raise several questions but rarely does. Why does it seem routinely acceptable -- arguably fashionable -- to make such a general and definitive statement? Why are these statements often not accompanied by supporting evidence? What is the empirical evidence that programming, broadly speaking, is inherently hard, or harder than possible analogs such as calculus in mathematics? Even if that evidence exists, what does it mean in practice? In what contexts does it hold? To whom does it, and does it not, apply?"

Becker concludes: "Blanket messages that 'programming is hard' seem outdated, unproductive, and likely unhelpful at best. At worst they could be truly harmful. We need to stop blaming programming for being hard and focus on making programming more accessible and enjoyable, for everyone.

Re:The Actual Danger.

By Joey Vegetables • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread


Programming isn't difficult, but programming well can be.

Good programmers often spend much of their time fixing code written by bad ones.

Programming is a dynamic multidimentional problem

By mveloso • Score: 3 • Thread

Programming (or software development) is a dynamic multidimensional problem. It's not hard if you know how to do it.

All you have to be able to do is model a few thousand (or occasionally tens of thousands or more) of things in your head at a time. Simple!

Re:The Actual Danger.

By Kokuyo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Why do you think ransomware attacks happen in companies with incompetent IT?

I work for a provider... We host virtual environments with varying degrees of customer autonomy.

We've jsut helped recover 200 VMs and 180 databases (about 15 TB) from a crypto hack...

Let me tell you, the security holes in this company were astounding in their degree of obviousness. This company did EVERYTHING wrong.

The IT staff knew about it and had informed management YEARS ago.

One thinks the real problem is lack of accountability for C-level managers no longer with the company when their labor bears fruit.


By noodler • Score: 3 • Thread

From the article:

More studies need to include a greater diversity of all kinds including but not limited to ability, ethnicity, geographic region, gender identity, native language, race, and socioeconomic background.

Why would any of these properties change the difficulty of programming? The author for sure doesn't give good reasons for why these aspects of diverse humans would make a difference. Yet he calls the idea that coding is hard outdated. What an idiot.

Re:The Actual Danger.

By JonnyCalcutta • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

A bad EULA is only enforceable because it is allowed to be enforceable. In most jurisdictions you cannot override actual legislation with a contract or EULA, so in principle we can legislate that software must be fit for expected use and that the supplier can be held liable for repercussions from use of software.

I mean, Hasbro could put an EULA on dolls stating that they cannot be held liable for any damage from the doll, but if they make the insides from broken glass and razor sharp spikes that EULA will be worthless. Why is it different for software?

Astronaut Watches Russian Space Station Module Fall From Space In Fiery Demise

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On Monday, astronauts said goodbye to a cornerstone of the International Space Station and captured stunning images of the compartment burning up in Earth's atmosphere. reports: A Russian Progress cargo vehicle towed the module, called Pirs, away from the space station and down through Earth's atmosphere to ensure the module burned up completely and reduce the odds of any large chunks making it to Earth's surface. Russia had launched its Pirs module in 2001; since then, the module, which served as a port to the space station, hosted more than 70 different capsules and supported Russian cosmonauts conducting extravehicular activities, or spacewalks. To make room for Russia's new science module, dubbed Nauka, which launched on July 21 and will arrive at the station on Thursday (July 29), Pirs had to go. Yesterday's fiery retirement ceremony marks the first time a major component of the International Space Station has been discarded. The attached Progress vehicle, which had arrived at the space station in February, controlled Pirs' re-entry to ensure that the module was destroyed as thoroughly as possible. European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet shared the photographs on Flickr.

Re:To make room

By Akardam • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Pirs, the module that was discarded, was the 3rd oldest module from the ROS (Russian Orbital Section). It was used as (among other things) an airlock, and above and beyond the base age of the module, the pressure cycles from nominal to vaacum take a toll on the structure and equipment of the module. So, age was a factor.

The new module that is coming up, Nauka, has all the capabilities (and more) of Pirs. Therefore, there was no technical reason to retain the old module.

There are some physical constraints to consider as well. The ISS orbits at an altitude that's not far enough up to be entirely free of the effects of atmospheric drag, so it requires periodic boosts to raise its orbit. This is accomplished using thrusters, which consume fuel. The more massive the station is, the more fuel it takes to do so. Because of the technical capability overlap mentioned above, in this regard Pirs was unecessary excess mass.

The mass distribution of the station matters as well. If all the mass were evenly appllied around the fore-and-aft axis of the station, then applying thrust in the forward direction from the aft of the station would put the thrust vector exactly through the center of mass, which would make controlling said thrust vector easy. However, the mass is not thus equally distributed - which the station control systems can deal with, but the further away the center of mass is from the thrust vector, the harder it is to control (and at some point, it would become impossible). There are only so many places for modules to connect (ports) along the fore-and-aft axis of the station. Thus, to keep the mass distribution closer to this axis, the less massive Pirs.had to at least be moved out of the way to make room for the more massive Nauka. And, since there was no reason to retain it, per the above, it could be removed from the station entirely.

Easily Stunned

By methano • Score: 3, Informative • Thread
Somebody is easily stunned. I clicked on the link and watched an ad for Best Buy, then saw a slow motion video of something in space. Then I looked at a couple of still photos. I couldn't find anything stunning or even mildly exciting. I may have nodded off while on the page.

It might have been stunning if some dude waved out of the old compartment as it floated away. "Where's Bob? Did you tell him we were gonna let the old part float away today?"

Re:To make room

By ElizabethGreene • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The shortest answer is "No."

The longer answer is that they would need a place to stick it. There is no back porch on the ISS; They need a hard point that can handle the mechanical load of 3.5 tons being accelerated for station keeping. If they just let it float it will drift away and become a debris hazard. If they tie it to a tether it will create additional drag and require more fuel for station keeping. If the module reached the end of the tether it would cause a small acceleration of the station, messing up microgravity in the labs. It also would be additional surface area receiving solar and earthshine radiation. That heat has to be exhausted to the radiators. That requires power too.

I always hated that we threw viable functional kit away in space, e.g. Shuttle external tanks, MIR, Spacelab, etc. The hard truth is that getting them to a parking orbit where they'll be stable without someone tending to them generally costs more than it would to fly new purpose built hardware.